This week I've been taking my three-year-old son to kiddie swimming lessons.
He'll jump in the pool, but the moment he's in the water, he's crying, "Daddy!!!"
When I try to follow the instructions of the class swim instructor--laying my son flat on his belly or his back, he immediately curls up and clutches to me with a death grip.
He doesn't trust me entirely. He suspects I might drown him.
Soren Kierkegaard says that the role of a pastor is to make the lives of his flock harder; they are to intentionally make a believer's life harder by causing them to do and think about difficult things. By not allowing their lives to stay comfortable, stretching their comfort zone, they spur spiritual growth and trust in God.
As a pastor, I agree with what Kierkegaard says. But in practice, I'm guilty of too often wanting to make people's lives comfortable--because that's what I want my life to be--comfortable.
But this week, I'm fulfilling the role of making my son's life difficult. By letting go of him in the water, I ignite terrifying fear in his little heart. What he doesn't see is that he's learning swimming and water safety skills.
Are things hard in your life right now? Maybe it's God who's responsible. Maybe He is intentionally making things tough so you will trust Him. Maybe He's doing it so you will quit relying on your inner resources and rely on His. Maybe it's the only way you'll see God's power at work.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." --Proverbs 3:5-6